Blue Surf Sanctuary is the perfect name for this charming boutique hotel and Billabong surf camp located on the quiet northern side of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. In a town bustling with hostels and cabinas, the upscale comfort of this beautifully appointed property truly does justice to the term “sanctuary.”
We chose to visit Santa Teresa for the last two nights of our Costa Rica journey, and were thrilled to find an awesome surf and yoga destination that is perfect for vacation or a group retreat! This intimate property has four spacious bungalows, and sleeps between eleven and eighteen people comfortably. Just steps to the beach, this property features a pool, outdoor communal kitchen, and the friendliest staff you could ask for. Hospitality manager Sofi is the sweetest and her husband Toro, the surf director for the property, will make sure you score waves no matter what your surfing ability.
Santa Teresa sits on the Pacific side of the southernmost part of the Nicoya Peninsula, a short distance from the tranquil azure waters of Golfito Nicoya. The most direct route involves flying into San Jose, renting a car or arranging tourist transport through Puntarenas, where a ferry carries passengers and vehicles to landings at Playa Naranjo and Parquea. Come prepared for a leisurely trip – whether you’re navigating the mountain roads in a 4×4 or cruising on the ferry, everything moves slower in Costa Rica. It’s approximately a five hour trip from San Jose to Santa Teresa.
Property & Accommodations
The first thing I noticed about Blue Surf is the new construction. Built in 2007, everything on site is in great repair and high quality. A gate surrounds the property, and security is provided day and night by friendly staff who attend to needs with courtesy and grace.
Our bungalow had a king and a twin – others had options for sleeping up to five per room with two queens and a twin. The rooms themselves are lovely – decorated in warm shades of aqua, sea green, and coral, they feature enchanting zen details like engraved wooden carvings and Buddhas in the room. High ceilings and exposed teak give an airy vibe and a jungle feel. The room was spotless – a rarity in an area where dirt, dust, and bugs are the norm. We were grateful for the ice cold air conditioning and a well-functioning ceiling fan. Our king bed was so comfortable that we spent a shameful amount of time just lounging in it, enjoying the slow pace of vacation.
If you like to cook, Blue Surf has a full kitchen, complete with stove, oven, and all the utensils and appliances you may need. They also provide storage space for all guests to keep food on site – and though it’s a small amount of fridge space, it’s easy to hit the store or fruit tiendas often rather than stock up. Santa Teresa has a few decent sized markets which carry all the staples you need for cooking. You won’t find a Costco or a Walmart, and it’s normal to walk each day to the store to pick up what you want to cook. Water and coffee are provided daily in the kitchen, or you may choose to have a large water dispenser brought to your room so you can hydrate as needed.
For the non-chefs in the crowd (ahem, yours truly), Santa Teresa boasts an impressive number of restaurants and sodas (small food stands) for all budgets – from five star luxury dining like Nectar at Flor Blanca, to road side taco stands with delicious empanadas and fish tacos. With a diverse population, the dining options range from Italian to French bakeries, sushi to traditional Costa Rican casado. Suffice it to say, you will not go hungry in this happening and hopping area of Costa Rica.
Activities On Site
The main on site activity at Blue Surf Sanctuary is relaxation. Suspended below the bungalows, comfortable daybeds replete with fresh linens and pillows offer an escape from midday sun and the perfect place to catch a catnap. A tranquil swimming pool in the courtyard also offers lovely place to cool off in fresh water, once you’ve had your fill of the wild waters of the Pacific. Bring a good book, or simply laze about and listen to the sounds of the jungle – you’ll hear monkeys, roosters, exotic birds, and the occasional laughing of the gecko.
Activities Near By
Blue Surf Sanctuary is a haven for surfers and yogis – and that’s what Stoked Yogi is all about! The main breaks of Santa Teresa are a short walk from the property – literally about a minute down a dirt path, close enough that you can hear waves from your private deck overlooking the pool, and walk with your morning coffee to do a quick surf check. Santa Teresa is definitely a surf destination – adjacent to Malpais, there are unlimited peaks of fun, fast beach break within walking distance of the hotel. For those that prefer a more mellow wave, cruise up to Playa Hermosa just a few kilometers north for long boarding, stand up paddle boarding, or swimming with little ones.
In almost equal numbers to the plethora of surfers in town are lithe, tanned yogis. Many local hostels and hotels have their own yoga shala – at Blue Surf, guests are afforded the privilege of attending classes next door at Flor Blanca resort – a five star resort with world class teachers. Follow up the class with a visit to the spa for a massage or body treatment, and experience Costa Rican indulgence at it’s finest.
For adventure junkies, the Montezuma area has everything from ATV rides to zip lining through the jungle canopy to waterfall hikes. The Montezuma Catarata (waterfall) hike is not to be missed. For two dollars, park your car at the trailhead and take a ten minute hike though moderate terrain up to the first falls and swimming hole. Fresh water cascades over volcanic rock, and cliff jumpers get their hearts racing by leaping from as high as forty feet into a deep plunge pool at the bottom. For me, it was enough to jump from about eight feet up. I felt like a daredevil, and managed to give myself a wedgie. It was glorious.
Best Time to Visit
It’s easiest to visit Santa Teresa in the dry (high) season, December to April, when all the dirt roads are passable. However, visiting in June – the start of the wet (low) season, we were pleased that the roads were still makable and the the surf crowds had thinned out quite a bit. If you come when it’s wet, make sure to bring ample bug spray. The mosquitos will feast on you otherwise!
Why We Love It
-Billabong Surf Camp – for all levels
-Proximity to world class yoga at Flor Blanca
-Super friendly staff
-Very comfortable and clean accommodations
Travelers Take Note
-Water pressure was low in the bungalows (common in eco-friendly resorts)
-Outdoor community kitchen means cooking with the ‘skeeters – bring bug spray!
My only wish is that we could have stayed longer to check out more of the local yoga and surf happenings. We are pumped to head back to Santa Teresa July 2016 to host a 200 hour yoga teacher training, and will definitely be spending more time at Blue Surf Sanctuary. Overall, we loved our time at Blue Surf and would definitely recommend it as the perfect place for a surf and yoga vacation.adventure, adventure travel, blue surf adventures, Blue Surf Sanctuary, boutique hotel Costa Rica, Costa Rica, Costa Rica travel, pura vida, Santa Teresa, stoked yogi, surf, surf trip, surfing retreat, travel, travel review, yoga